Many skip bazaar as prices shoot up

Buying food from the bazaar Ramadan is something many Malaysians look forward to. Muslims throng these bazaars to get food and drinks to break fast. MalayMail Online Puteri Sabira Ab Ghani reports:

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However, many are irked by some unscrupulous traders who raise their prices exorbitantly.

Nur Munirah Ramli, 31, a lecturer from Kepong, prepares her own buka puasa fare as it is cheaper.

Buying food at the bazaar Ramadan is now an expensive affair, she said, citing as an example the price of popiah basah which costs RM2 a piece, compared to 50 sen in 2011.

“That is why I have stopped going to the Taman Ehsan bazaar Ramadan, where traders charge steep prices. If we spend RM50 at a bazaar, we can only buy a few food items. It is not the same as it used to be,” she said.

Bank executive Nor Adillah Mustaffa, 29, said some bazaar Ramadan traders were taking advantage of consumers.

“The prices of goods have gone up again this year. Price increases are normal because of inflation but a hike of 50 sen to RM1 is too much,” she said.

“For instance, at a bazaar Ramadan in Batu Pahat, murtabak is sold at RM5 a piece, which is too expensive. It was so much cheaper last year.”

Nor Adillah now prefers to break fast at home and usually tries to return early to prepare the food.

“It takes about two hours to prepare and cook the meals, so I make sure I am home before the traffic gets bad,” she said.

However, not all city dwellers find it convenient to cook at home.

Businessman Ahmad Razali Karim, 35, said although he would prefer to cook at home to break fast, his tight schedule made food bought from a bazaar his only option.

“It’s more expensive to buy food at a bazaar Ramadan but it’s convenient and hassle free,” he said.

Razali said the bazaar Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur were similar to those in Kedah, where he came from.

“The variety of food is generally the same but the portions here are smaller and dearer,” he said.

He said despite having reasonably good buka puasa meals in the city, the feeling was not the same when breaking fast in his kampung with family members.

“This is my second year observing Ramadan away from my parents. If I can have it my way, I would go back to my hometown every week. But it’s too expensive to do that, so I’ll only return home during Hari Raya,” Razali said.